Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Athletes “Gambling” On Sports

I was reading different news articles about “spot fixing” in cricket over the past few days.  I know what “match fixing” is but I never knew what spot fixing was until a few days ago.
There is a difference between gambling and fixing.  Gambling is placing bets on a team to win or lose.  In my opinion, it’s like buying a lottery ticket – you may win or you may lose…but the probabilities are random. 
On the other hand, match fixing and spot fixing are serious offenses.  Basically you’re cheating and the bet is no longer random but heavily skewed in one direction.  Making sure something is fixed and the outcome is already pre-determined – well that makes you a cheater.  By gambling on a fix, you are capitalizing on the cheat.  Like I said before, a serious offense.
Pete Rose is a former professional American baseball player who is very famous.  Pete Rose to baseball, is like Tendulkar to cricket or Beckham to soccer.  To say that Pete Rose loves playing baseball is quite an understatement.  Let me give 2 examples of his love for baseball.
1 - He once said in an interview that he will play baseball even if no one paid him any money to play.  He loves the game so much that he’ll play for free.  (I don’t think Tendulkar or Beckham will make such a statement.)
2 – During his games, whenever he got a “Ball 4 - Walk”, he would run as fast as he could to first base, instead of just walking to first base.  (Non Baseball readers: If you do not understand the game, it is OK).  This is just an example to show Pete’s enthusiasm for playing the game.  He is like a 12 year old boy, playing a game with friends on the weekend, in the middle of the street.

Because of his unique playing style (enthusiasm of a school boy in a professional sport), Pete was nick named Charlie Hustle.
Pete should have been automatically elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame.  However, there were accusations and allegations that he gambled on baseball.  Therefore, he was banned from induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Gambling on baseball is legal in Las Vegas and other places that take Sports Book Bets.  However, players should not gamble on the games.  Yes indeed, Pete did what he is not supposed to do and he is paying for it.  Hopefully they will reconsider the ban and vote him into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He has a tremendous backing of people (fans) who want to see him inducted…but the Baseball Commissioner’s office is against him.
Oh by the way, there is one final point I wanted to make about Pete Rose’s gambling on baseball.  What kind of bets did Pete make?  He always made bets for his team to WIN.  He never made any bets for his team to lose.
Fixing happens when athletes lower their performance on purpose so they look bad and the team looks bad (now they can make money by betting against themselves).  Pete always wanted to win and also bet that way. Banning him is indeed a tragedy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Page from the Past

I was browsing the web.  I saw this news caption:

Manmohan extends Japan trip, sends a strong message to China.

They reported that he extended his stay in Japan by one day to send a strong message to  the Chinese that he did not like the Chinese incursion deep inside in the Indian territory.  19 km to be exact.  I don’t know how that would send a strong message to China.

Here is an anecdote from my past.  Page from my past.

In my office, a long time ago, I had a colleague.  Her name is Paige P.  She came from a very wealthy family.  She joined our office and got placed in my group.  She was a nice person.  But, as her Manager, I had to be extra careful with her.  Her dad was a CEO of a top name brand company and he wanted to make sure his daughter had a different industry experience.

One day, during lunch, we were discussing about punishments we received from our parents while we were teenagers.

Paige said when she was 18 years old, she did something wrong.  Her father punished her severely.  He took the keys to her BMW for a week and the poor girl had to drive her other car, Mercedes Benz, for a week.

I told her “Paige you had suffered enough”.

So Manmohan sent a strong message to China by extending his stay in Japan by one day!  I will tell China “You have suffered enough”.